Captain Nichola Goddard students remember school's namesake

Students at Captain Nichola Goddard School spent Friday morning honouring the school's namesake.

Soldier was first Canadian woman to die on duty since the Second World War

A poignant Remembrance Day ceremony was held at a Calgary school Friday. 1:06

A poignant Remembrance Day ceremony was held at a Calgary school Friday.

Captain Nichola Goddard School, which opened this year, is named after Canada's first female soldier to be killed in action since the Second World War, and the first female combat soldier killed on the front lines.

In a brand new gymnasium decorated with large handpainted poppies, the students remembered Capt. Nichola Goddard.

Goddard's legacy is already well entrenched in the minds of students, like 12-year-old Deanna Saleh.

Captain Nichola Goddard School — which opened this year — is named after Canada's first female soldier to die in combat. (CBC)

"She was very brave and she led a group of men," she said. "She's a big role model for me."

All week, students have been learning about Goddard — reading her last letter home, writing their own letters to soldiers, making wreaths and making bracelets they now wear in Goddard's memory.

Carlos Plata Martinez,11, says he's learned a very special lesson.

"We can make a difference in the world by doing small things," he said.

In the Words of a Soldier, a CBC News special hosted by Peter Mansbridge, tells the story of Capt. Nichola Goddard through the letters she wrote to her family while serving in Afghanistan on CBC TV News Sunday, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m. 

The children also met with Goddard's parents this week to learn more about their school's namesake.

Tim and Sally Goddard say the ceremony touched them in a way others haven't.

"You stand at cenotaphs or you're in a church — that's good, they're important ceremonies," said Tim. "But this one, this one was pretty amazing."

"It was heartfelt," Sally added.

With files from CBC's Jennifer Lee